Enemies of the People?

6th September 2022, 6:00 pm


This should be an exceptional event with one of the UK’s top broadcasters on judicial issues. We will send you a link nearer the event



Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon)

For the inaugural meeting of the TLC Law and Justice Forum, we are delighted to welcome Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon), Britain’s most experienced and eminent full-time legal commentator.

Joshua is a renowned author, journalist and broadcaster, and for anyone interested in the law his BBC Radio 4 programme, Law in Action, is a ‘must listen’. Joshua’s impressive bio can be read here.

You may find this review of his recent book illuminating.

Joshua Rozenberg is arguably the UK’s leading legal writer. In this latest book he addresses many misunderstandings and false reporting about the role of judges and the courts. This reached its high (or low) point with the infamous Daily Mail headline in November 2016 – ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE, which followed a High Court decision that it was Parliament rather than the government that would decide when the UK would deliver the Art 50 Notice of intention to leave the EU following the Brexit vote. Rozenberg explains that the wildly inaccurate reporting gave the impression that the judges were overturning Brexit itself rather than saying that the final decision rested with the representatives elected by the people.

This forms the basis of an analysis of the roles of judges and legislators in the UK, in the face of media accusations of attempts by the courts to ‘grab power.

Although broadly supportive of the courts Rozenberg does always agree with them. This is starkly illustrated by the decision to overturn the introduction of eye watering fees for Employment Tribunal Cases, the effect of which was to deprive people of access to justice. Lord Reed declared that a fee that was unaffordable was unlawful. In interpreting legislation judges had to consider constitutional principles including access to justice. He notes criticism that the judges were applying hindsight whilst looking at what was meant by the legislation – if the actual fees had been lower would the outcome have been different?

These are just examples of a fascinating and informative review of the tension between the courts and legislators that has made our common law system so dynamic and flexible.

TLC Law and Justice Forum mirrors TLC H&SC by drawing together distinguished members of TLC to examine, discuss, and challenge areas of interest and concern. You are very welcome to join us too by registering below.

As usual, members free, non-members £30